THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Urban Bees is bringing bees to our cities. They are not just training people in beekeeping, or partnering up beekeepers with people who have the space to keep a hive (much like the ‘adopt a beehive’ scheme run by Richard from Essex Bees) but they are also promoting bee-friendly spaces.
Just study the Trees for Bees poster above (you can also view it on the Urban Bees website.) Bees don’t want to waste energy, so planting a tree gives the bees an efficient way to earn a vital food source. We love using lime trees in a garden for a client, but the real benefit for bees comes from trees in flower early and late on in the season so get planting a strawberry tree for the Autumn and hazel and goat willow for the Spring!
(We currently have a big patch of cosmos, an annual flower, which is proving incredibly popular with the bees here in Chelmsford. It looks its best in September and should continue to flower all the way through to the first frosts. We have grown it for years now and never cease to enjoy it, as simple a plant as it is…)
Honey will look and taste differently, depending on where it is harvested. In the countryside many farms specialise in only a few crops, so bees visiting these fields will have a narrow diet. Urban bees have the diversity of the city to enjoy, so can stumble across trees and flowers they may not find in any great quantity in the country. On the Urban Bee website they talk about the taste of their honey…
“The honey has a delicate, light flavour with a slight hint of citrus as the bees will have visited many of the local lime trees that flower in June and July.”
We have read of a honey from Morocco that was thick and as dark as obsidian. The writer was almost a honey hound, scouring the world to obtain a jar (or at least a taste!) of different types. Until last year, we had never realised honey would be different depending on what the bees had to forage amongst. Nor did we appreciate how different good honey is to the stuff you get in a squeezy bottle… don’t buy that anymore, please. Look for something of quality…
Urban Bees is run by Brian McCallum and Alison Benjamin – who wrote these Urban Bee Books. They are supported by organisations like River of Flowers and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, both of whom are doing important work bringing green space to London.
Do support their work and give a helping hand to our Urban Bees.
I recently wrote a piece for Topiarius magazine, the flagship publication of the European Boxwood & Topiary Society – of which Modern Mint is both a member and big supporter. Check out the EBTS here. They frequently run courses and talks too, so worth keeping an eye on. Below is the piece I wrote about the tools I use when making topiary and pruning trees…. Darren’s Piece In Topiarius Magazine I use Okatsune Secateurs, which I started pruning with when working on a large orchard in Hampshire. My Felco’s were too difficult to open with cold hands, but the chunky …
Just inc are you are free in the following dates in June, you can visit my mentor Charlotte Molesworth’s topiary garden… Check out the dates the garden is open here. And you can of course join both Charlotte and I for a topiary workshop in the garden in July, as well as September. Hope to see you there!
The Nunki weeder has been talked about by Jane Perrone in the newspaper (the Guardian, if you are interested. At the weekend.) She said this about our lovely weeding tool… “Getting on top of annual weeds such as hairy bittercress and speedwell can be tedious. The Nunki weeder has a curved blade that allows for precision work around plants….” There you go – a weeder for precision work, not an avocado destoner as someone once said to me. Take a closer look at the Nunki weeder now.